Rocket Lab claims ‘mission success’ after deploying 2 commercial satellites into orbit

Rocket Lab claims ‘mission success’ after deploying 2 commercial satellites into orbit

Rocket Lab is on track to launch its second satellite mission from the United States on Thursday, sending two satellites from Capella Space into orbit atop its Electron booster rocket (pictured). File Photo courtesy of Rocket Lab

March 16 (UPI) — Rocket Lab confirmed Thursday that it has successfully deployed its payload of two commercial satellites into orbit.

The mission “Stronger Together” carried two Synthetic Aperture Radar commercial satellites from U.S. manufacturer Capella Space into orbit on Thursday evening. The Electron booster lifted off shortly after 6:30 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 2 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, located in Wallops Island, Va.

The Capella Space satellites were deployed from Electron at about 8 p.m. EST, Rocket Lab tweeted.

Rocket Lab confirmed on Twitter that Electron’s nosecone successfully separated minutes after launch and its second stage engine had shut down.

Thursday’s launch was also the second mission for Rocket Lab’s Electron booster. The satellites are meant to enhance radar capabilities for Capella Space by capturing high-quality images that can be delivered quickly, the press release from Rocket Lab said. NASA Wallops tweeted that launch conditions were 95% favorable. Residents of Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire could see the rocket under the right weather conditions.

Rocket Lab said it will not attempt to retrieve the Electron booster. The booster is 60-feet tall and is capable of 50,400 pounds of thrust, according to Spaceflight Now.

Thursday’s launch follows a successful mission by Rocket Lab in January. That mission sent three commercial satellites into Earth’s orbit for satellite company HawkEye 360.

Capella Space has partnered with Rocket Lab on a mission one time before but it was not launched from U.S. soil.

Capella Space is based in San Francisco.

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